Climatic Warming Will Alter Park Ecosystems

Various combinations of vegetation models and climate-change projections forecast that global warming will place anywhere from 27 to 79% of British Columbia's 511 provincial parks into a different biome. This implies that many provincial parks will no longer contain the ecoregion they were identified as protecting under BC's Protected Areas Strategy.

With a 1.7 °C rise in temperature, 28 to 48% of Canada's 2,979 designated conservation areas will move to another of the nine broad vegetation categories distributed across the country. This is among the most conservative of climate change forecasts considered possible within the 21st century.

The biomes most affected nationally are tundra, taiga/tundra and boreal coniferous forest. Modelling predicts a 50% or greater decline in the number of conservation areas representing these vegetation types as climate warms. Conversely, the temperate mixed-forest biome is anticipated to gain representation within the current layout of protected areas.


Christopher J. Lemieux and Daniel J. Scott. 2005. Climate change, biodiversity conservation and protected area planning in Canada. Canadian Geographer. 49(4): 384-397.

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